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Empowering Twice Exceptional Students

Hey there! Welcome to our conversation about twice exceptional (2e) learners!


We're diving into the fascinating world of individuals who have some incredible gifts but also face some learning challenges.


These learners are pretty special because they have what we call "dual exceptionalities." That means they have super cool talents like being really smart or super creative, but they also have things like learning disabilities, trouble focusing, or other special needs.



Understanding Twice Exceptionality

Twice exceptionality (2e) is when someone has both special talents or abilities and specific learning difficulties.


These individuals might be really smart or talented in certain areas, but they also face challenges in other areas of learning.


For example, someone could be really good at solving puzzles or playing a musical instrument, but they might struggle with reading or paying attention in class. It's like having strengths and weaknesses that don't always match up.


Picture this:



This is a brown visual with a drawing of a boy and describes his experience as a 2e learner

Or this other example:



This is a brown image with a drawing of a girl, describing a specific example of a person with 2e diagnoses


Identifying 2e Students

According to a report from NAGC (National Association for Gifted Children) about twice exceptionality, they found that twice exceptional kids can fall into one of three groups:



This is a blue and beige informational image describing 3 types of exceptional  learners



Challenges Faced by Twice Exceptional Learners

In school, twice exceptional learners may have a tough time fitting in with the regular teaching methods. This can make them feel frustrated, have low self-esteem, or even feel lonely because they don't feel like they belong. It's important to understand their specific needs and provide support that takes into account both their strengths and their challenges.


  1. School: The usual way of teaching in schools might not work well for twice exceptional kids. They might struggle with fitting into strict lesson plans, standardized tests, or classrooms that don't give them the support they need.

  2. Balancing abilities: Twice exceptional learners often have a big gap between their strengths and their weaknesses. They might be really good at one thing but find another thing super hard. This can make it tough to find the right educational programs that help them with both their talents and their challenges.

  3. Social emotional struggles: These learners can have a hard time fitting in socially because they feel different or misunderstood. It can be tough to make friends, understand social cues, or feel like they fit in. This can make them feel lonely, sad, or not so good about themselves.

  4. Not Living Up to Their Potential: Sometimes, twice exceptional kids don't do as well in school as they could. This can happen because their learning difficulties hide their high abilities. As a result, they might be seen as average or struggling students, and their true potential can be missed.

  5. Lack of Awareness: Many people, like teachers, parents, and even other kids, don't know much about twice exceptionality. This can lead to a lack of support and understanding. It's important to spread awareness and make sure these learners get the right help and opportunities.

  6. Executive Functions: Asynchrony in 2e children, can result in executive function challenges, such as difficulty switching attention and managing frustration, despite excelling in preferred tasks.


To tackle these challenges, we need to take a comprehensive approach. This means creating individualized plans for each learner, adjusting how we teach to fit their needs, helping them with their emotions and relationships, making sure schools are inclusive and welcoming, and spreading the word about twice exceptionality to get more support and understanding.


Embracing the Strengths of Twice Exceptional Individuals

Despite their difficulties, twice exceptional students have incredible strengths. They often have unique problem-solving skills, creative thinking, and a strong passion for the things they love. By recognizing and nurturing these strengths, and by creating a supportive environment, we can help them reach their full potential.


This is a visual with a person reading and shows 6 characteristics of 2e learners
Characteristics of 2e Students


Strategies for Supporting Twice Exceptional Learners

Supporting twice exceptional learners means finding ways to help them learn that work for them. It might involve special educational programs, accommodations, or strategies that take into account their exceptional abilities and learning difficulties.


It's also important for parents, teachers, and professionals to work together to understand and meet their specific needs.


Here are some practical strategies to support and empower twice exceptional learners:

  1. Personalized Approach: Every 2e learner is unique, so tailor your support to their specific strengths, weaknesses, and interests.

  2. Focus on Strengths: Nurture their exceptional abilities and passions.

  3. Flexible Teaching: Adapt your teaching methods to meet their diverse learning needs. Adjust the pace and depth of instruction, and provide alternative pathways for them to demonstrate their understanding.

  4. Emotional Support: Create a caring and inclusive environment where they feel understood and valued. Provide counseling, teach social skills, and foster connections with peers who appreciate and accept them.

  5. Teamwork: Collaborate with fellow educators, specialists, and parents to ensure a holistic approach to support the learner. For a comprehensive list of independent educational consultants, click here.

  6. Assistive Tools: Use technology and tools that can assist twice exceptional learners in overcoming their challenges. There are various helpful resources available, such as apps, software, or devices tailored to their specific needs.

  7. Continuous Learning: Stay updated on best practices and research by engaging in professional development. For some ideas to improve your or your students EF skills, see our article: How to Work on Executive Function Skills over the Summer.

  8. Raise Awareness: Advocate for twice exceptional learners and spread awareness about their unique characteristics and needs. See our list of Top Northern California Special Education Advocates and Attorneys.

Keep in mind that the ultimate goal is to create an awesome environment where twice exceptional learners can really thrive, show off their talents, and conquer any challenges that come their way. By using these strategies with care and dedication, you'll make a super positive impact on their educational journey. So let's go ahead and make it happen!



This is a colorful visual showing ways to support 2E learners



Advocacy and Collaboration for Twice Exceptional Learners

Let’s talk about practical strategies for raising awareness, empowering parents, building partnerships, and advocating for policy changes. Together we can create a supportive environment where 2e learners thrive!


Here are some tips:

  1. Raise Awareness: Educate others about twice exceptional learners' unique needs.

  2. Empower Parents: Support and guide parents as advocates for their children.

  3. Build Partnerships: Collaborate with educators and specialists for comprehensive support.

  4. Individualized Education Plans (IEPs): Develop tailored plans addressing strengths and challenges.

  5. Networking and Support: Connect with groups dedicated to twice exceptional learners.

  6. Policy Change: Advocate for policies that meet the needs of these learners.

  7. Professional Development: Continuously learn to enhance advocacy efforts.

  8. Amplify Voices: Encourage learners to share their experiences and needs.


Conclusion: Encouraging Support for Twice Exceptional Individuals


To wrap it up, it's really important to give lots of support to twice exceptional individuals. We need to understand that they have both amazing strengths and some challenges too.


By creating inclusive environments that appreciate their talents and provide the right help for their difficulties, we can help them grow and succeed. We should speak up for their needs, work together with everyone involved, and make sure people know about the unique qualities and abilities of twice exceptional learners.


So let's stand by them, cheer for their accomplishments, and empower them to reach for the stars in every aspect of their lives.


We at EF Specialists strive to help students find balance and satisfaction with their academic lives. Join us in the cause to make a difference for twice exceptional individuals.


So, are you ready to harness your incredible talents and overcome the unique challenges you face as a twice exceptional learner? It's time to take control of your executive functions and soar to new heights of success!


Contact us at www.efspecialists.com for an inquiry.

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About 👋

EFS started with one teacher deciding that kids with ADHD needed better access to quality executive function coaching services. Since then, we have grown to a team of specialists working both private students and public schools to enhance executive function skills for all students. 

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